Author Archives: Stephen

A Monument To Stupidity

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

In a press conference today Gov. Gaven Newsom said that California is planning to sue the Trump administration over its declaration of a national emergency on the southern border.

To view the news conference go to this Fox News video. Newson lays out the real issues on the southern border and describes how wasting money on the “border wall” will make the problems worse not better.

The Los Angles Times reported on the press conference. The LA Times article has great quotes.  Here are a few:

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that California is planning to sue the Trump administration over its declaration of a national emergency on the southern border with Mexico, delivering on a promise state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra made last week “to reject this foolish proposal in court the moment it touches the ground.”

Newsom and Becerra announced they are developing plans for the legal action at a Capitol news conference just hours after President Trump declared a national emergency in an attempt to divert up to $6.6 billion from other projects, including military construction jobs, to build or reinforce as many as 234 miles of border barriers.

Fortunately, Donald Trump is not the last word,” Newsom said. “The courts will be the last word.”

Newsom called the wall “a vanity project, a monument to stupidity,” and said the real emergency is the wildfire disaster that needs federal funds.

“No other state is going to be impacted by this declaration of emergency more than the state of California,” the governor said.

Becerra said attorneys are reviewing the declaration and will develop the legal argument to take to court in the near future.

In his Spanish-language response to the president’s State of the Union address last week, Becerra said that he was prepared to go to court. Newsom and Becerra repeated their warning of legal action on Thursday, saying in a joint statement that “the President’s ‘national emergency’ is nothing more than a fabrication while real emergencies are awaiting his action. If the President tries to use a made up emergency to pay for his border wall, then California will see him in court.”

 

 

“Presidential Untruths”

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

One of the better ideas I have heard for exposing Trump’s Lies – from the San Francisco Chronicle, Letters, January 31, 2019:

Find the lies
The president simply cannot resist telling lies about nearly everything; he either believes it or does it to stay in the news or both. I suggest the newspaper relegate such stories to an inner section under “Presidential Untruths,” stating the item, the rebuttal and where to find out factual information on the statement.

This will remove his idiocy from the spotlight and enumerate his lies, while still covering a presidential communication.
Steven Tracy, Davis

We Have a Second Chance – Let’s Not Blow It

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

A NYT’s Opinion by Frank Bruni:

Selected Items:

“Pocahontas” won’t be lonely for long.

As other Democrats join Elizabeth Warren in the contest for the party’s presidential nomination, President Trump will assign them their own nicknames, different from hers but just as derisive. There’s no doubt.

But how much heed will we in the media pay to this stupidity? Will we sprint to Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker or Mike Bloomberg for a reaction to what Trump just called one of them and then rush back to him for his response to that response? Or will we note Trump’s latest nonsense only briefly and pivot to matters more consequential?

That’s a specific question but also an overarching one — about the degree to which we’ll let him set the terms of the 2020 presidential campaign, about our appetite for antics versus substance, and about whether we’ll repeat the mistakes that we made in 2016 and continued to make during the first stages of his presidency. There were plenty

Read on …

Trump’s 50 Most Unthinkable Moments

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

Halfway through Donald Trump’s term in the Oval Office, The Atlantic has cataloged 50 norm-shattering moments from his presidency, analyzed by 50 Atlantic writers and contributors. This project, titled Unthinkable, ranks the incidents—from the outlandish to the dangerous—that would have been considered improbable during any prior administration, of either party

Donald Trump’s 50 Most Unthinkable Moments

Jeffrey Goldberg Editor in chief of The Atlantic

Trump’s Five Craziest Arguments About the Shutdown

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

Oh, and about that wall. Here’s a financing plan that’s a win-win.

Brought to you by Nicholas Kristof

The Cats Are Going To Pay For It😠

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

Thanks to Me Me:

Trump’s Understanding of Tax & Tarrif Policy

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

A Krugman Lesson on Tax Policy

Krugman on what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knows about tax policy? (a lot) versus what Trump knows? (not much)

A Comment on Trump’s Twisted Tariff Logic

Trump claims Chinese tariffs have brought in millions. Wrong. A tariff on imports is a Tax. The Tax is paid by companies importing Chinese products. These taxes are at least partially passed to consumers of the products. If it looks like a duck, swims a duck, and quacks like a duck it probably is a duck.

Trump Isn’t The Only Problem – Part 4

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

More from Robert Reich:

Why We Must Get Big Money Out of Politics

The most important thing we must do to save our democracy is get big money out of politics. It’s a prerequisite to accomplishing everything else.

Today, big money continues to corrupt American politics – creating a vicious cycle that funnels more wealth and power to those at the top and eroding our democracy.

In the 2018 midterm elections, wealthy donors and Super-PACs poured millions into the campaigns of the same lawmakers who voted to pass the 2017 tax cuts, which gave them huge windfalls.

Consider conservative donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, whose casino business received an estimated $700 million windfall, thanks to Trump and Republicans’ tax cuts. The couple then used some of this extra cash to plow more than $113 million dollars into the 2018 election, breaking the record for political contributions by a single household.

That’s not a bad return on investment – for them.

All told, almost 40 percent of total contributions in the 2018 midterms came from people who donated $10,000 or more. Yet these mega-donors comprise a tiny 0.01 percent of the U.S. population.

Read on

Fences & Neighbors: A Blast From The Past

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

Robert Reich wrote this for the November 30, 1998 issue of the New Yorker magazine. He posted it to his blog today. It could not be more time appropriate.

Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

It used to be that people who owned a lot of things could protect themselves and their things by erecting sturdy houses and, if necessary, putting a lock on the door. Today, it seems, that’s not enough. It’s estimated that three million American households live within gated communities – twenty thousand of them, often equipped with private security guards and electronic surveillance systems. Some years ago, the town of Rosemont, Illinois, erected a beige wrought-iron fence. Rosemont is a suburb of Chicago, with a population of four thousand, and it has one of the largest auxiliary police forces in the United States.

A wall is being erected around the nation, too – an outer perimeter, separating the United States from the Third World. So far, our national wall extends along only sixty-four miles of the nearly two-thousand-mile border with Mexico, but Congress has appropriated funds for lengthening it and also fortifying it.

The urge to erect walls seems to be growing, just as disparities in wealth are widening. Many of the Americans who reside within gates like Rosemont’s have become substantially wealthier during the past several years, whereas a great many Americans who live outside the gates have not. (One man, appropriately named Bill Gates, has a net worth roughly equaling the combined net worth of the least wealthy forty percent of American households.)

On a much larger scale, inhabitants of the planet who reside at latitudes north of the national wall are diverging economically from those who live south of it. The consequence is that at both perimeters – the town wall and the national wall – outsiders are more desperate to get in and insiders are more determined to keep them out. Yet the inconvenient fact is that increasingly, in the modern world, the value of what the insiders own and of the work they do depends on what occurs outside.

Half a world away from Rosemont are places whose currencies, denominated in bahts, ringgits, rupiahs, and won, began toppling more than a year ago, and seem to have come to rest only in the last several weeks at levels far below where they started. This has caused most of these countries’ citizens to become far poorer. An Indonesian who had worked for the equivalent of three dollars and thirty-three cents a day before the rupiah’s decent is now working for about one dollar and twelve cents. Efforts by the International Monetary Fund to build back the “confidence” of global investors in these nations by conditioning loans on the nation’s willingness to raise interest rates and cut their public spending have had the unfortunate side effect of propelling more of their citizens into ever more desperate poverty. After the tremors spread to Russia last summer, and it defaulted on its short-term loans, the worldwide anxiety grew, spreading all the way to Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, with the widest gap between rich and poor. In return for its promise of austerity, Brazil is now set to receive an international line of credit totaling forty-one and a half billion dollars, designed to convince global investors that its currency will not lose its value, and that, therefore, there is no reason for them to take their money and run.

All this commotion has also diminished the economic security of quite a number of people who thought of themselves as safely walled in. …. Recent government data show that in the third quarter of 1998 the profits and investments of Americans companies shrank for the first time since the recession year of 1991. This is largely because their exports to Asia and Latin America have continued to drop, while cheap imports from these regions are undercutting their sales in the United States. In consequence, they have been laying off American workers at a higher pace, and creating new jobs at a slower pace, than at any time in recent years.

We do not know how many residents of Rosemont will lose their jobs or the value of their stock portfolios because of the continuing global crisis. No burglars will climb over the steel barrier now walling off the United States and then scale Rosemont’s beige wrought-iron fence, but some residents of Rosemont will lose a bundle nonetheless.

The major risks of modern live now move through or over walls, sometimes electronically, as with global investments, but occasionally by other means. A lethal influenza virus originating among a few Hong Kong chickens could find its way to Rosemont via a globe-trotting business executive. Drugs are flowing across the border as well, not because the walls are insufficiently think but because the people behind them are eager to buy. Something these is in capitalism that doesn’t love a wall.

So why do we feverishly build more walls when they offer us less and less protection? Perhaps it is because we feel so unprotected of late. Amid all the blather about taking more personal responsibility for this or that, there is a growing fear that random and terrible things can happen to us. Solid walls at least create the illusion of control over what we call our own, and control is something we seem to need more of these days, when almost anyone can be clobbered by a falling baht.

Share

Trump Tax Cut – Wrong!

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

You want to know how wrong the Trump tax cut is? Read this, written by someone with the economic chops to know.

NYTimes.com: The Trump Tax Cut: Even Worse Than You’ve Heard